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BYU study says your phone’s night shift mode doesn’t help sleep

"Night Shift" or night mode on your smartphone appears to have no effect on sleep, BYU researchers found. Photo: Getty Images

PROVO, Utah — A new BYU study says we are being fooled by the night mode lighting or night shift setting on our phones when it comes to our sleep.

Associate psychology professor Chad Jensen says they studied three groups to come to this conclusion.

“Not using a phone at all was superior, and the night shift didn’t have any additional affect compared to the phone without night shift. Our conclusion was, it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference in sleep outcomes,” Jensen said. 

His advice? Put that phone down at least an hour before bed time to fall asleep faster.

Night mode made no difference on sleep, study finds

“There is research in laboratories suggesting that blue wave length light affects sleep onset and sleep duration. But when we take it out into the real world, so to speak, our question was, ‘Does it really work, does it improve sleep outcomes?’ In this study, the answer was no,” he said.  

Jensen believes his study shows our societal perspective rewards people for sleeping less, which could cause long-term harm. 

We think “that if you can get by on little sleep, you are somehow stronger or better,” he said. “But I think sleep is such an important biological function that we should prioritize our sleep and try to find ways to improve our sleep.” 

In other words, scrolling through posts to relax at bedtime could be keeping your brain awake longer. 

Jensen says young adults are getting around 6 hours of sleep a night, when they should be getting 8 or 9 hours. 

The bottom line? Night mode may make your screen darker, but that alone will not help you fall or stay asleep.

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